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US Forest Service Teams Up With Boxelder Job Corps in Northern Hills

Chelsea Monks
Forest Service

The US Forest Service teamed up with the Boxelder Job Corps to install a new buck and rail fence in the Bearlodge District of the northern Black Hills.  The Job Corps is a training program through the US Department of Labor providing technical training to young people ages 16 to 24. 

More than a dozen students from the Boxelder Job Corps teamed up with the Forest Service to complete installation of the fence.

Mike Gosse is the District Ranger for the Black Hills National Forest Bearlodge District. He says the teams from the Job Corps consist of students from across the nation.

Gosse says the Forest Service partners with the corps often in order to complete projects they would not otherwise have staff for.

“They did a terrific job in constructing this, over 1500 feet of buck and rail fencing, within a day they were here,” says Gosse.

Gosse says the Forest Service provides them with safety equipment, training and information on local conditions.

He says the students earn conservation credits that can be applied to their education.

Derek Sukstorf is the math instructor at Boxelder Job Corps.  He says they like to do outreach programs throughout the community.

Sukstorf says these projects provide a unique opportunity for job corps students.

“It gives our students a great opportunity to learn some skills, get out of the classroom for a little while, have some hands-on knowledge, and then to also benefit the forest and help out around the community,” says Sukstorf.

Patrick Appleton is an English instructor at Job Corps. He says in addition to installing the buck and rail fence, students also helped with trail maintenance around the northern hills.

“Another thing it does for the students – projects like this, cooperating with the Forest Service – is it give them an appreciation of how much work and stuff goes into preserving some of our natural areas we have here in the Black Hills,” says Appleton

Appleton says these projects also reinforce the importance of preserving the natural resources present in South Dakota.